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REVIEW: Shattered by Joan Johnston

Dear Ms. Johnston:

Cover image for Shattered by Joan JohnstonI had really enjoyed Outcast and was looking forward to reading this even though it clearly was part of a long running series, a series with which I don’t have even the passing acquaintance. I can see by the Amazon reviews, however, I should be grateful I wasn’t one of the fans that had followed the series and the build up only to have my expectations completely dashed. I can say that there is nothing about this book that would compel me to pick up another in the Bitter Creek saga.

Kate married poorly to a selfish man who cheated on her. One night she walked into a hotel room that she and her husband were sharing and found her husband with another woman. Her husband just waves her away. Kate proceeds to leave the room, return to the lobby and picks up the handsomest man in the room for a one night stand. Kate gets pregnant by this stranger and eventually delivers twins. Kate stays marries to her philandering husband for some reason. Kate’s mother in law is the former governor of Texas who has higher political ambitions. Her main problem is keeping track of her son. He is supposed to be dead but Kate knows that he is alive. Kate’s mother in law hires someone to find out the paternity of Kate’s twins. It turns out to be Wyatt Shaw, the son of a mob boss.

Wyatt finds out he has twins and guess what? He wants them back. Upon seeing Kate, he realizes he wants her too. He’s never forgotten that one wild night 10 years ago. Unfortunately for Wyatt, Kate is in love with Jack, a Texas Ranger with a black mark on his record. Jack is recently separated from his wife and has found solace in Kate’s arms. As soon as the two of them can arrange a divorce and/or receive confirmation of Kate’s husband’s death, they will marry.

Jack was kicked out of the house by his wife, Holly, because she was afraid to love him. Complicating matters is that when Kate was in a coma from a gunshot wound, Jack and Holly had sex and now Holly is pregnant. Please note that Jack and Kate were purportedly in love with each other at the time of her gunshot wound and subsequent coma. I wonder if coma is secret code for “cheating but not cheating”?

But Kate doesn’t really mind. She’s totally accepting of Jack and knows that he loves her. Problematically when Wyatt shows up, she can’t stop the physical reaction she has toward Wyatt. Oh dear me, how can that be when she is supposed to love Jack?

The fact is that Jack and Kate really have no idea what love is and that would be perfectly fine if learning about true love was part of their character arc. But it’s not. Both are so spineless that in the end, it’s probably good the two didn’t get together because two gormless worms should not live above the earth and procreate.

So Wyatt drags Kate and the two boys to his remote compound near Houston and demands that Kate sleep in the same bed with him. Because Kate is the aforementioned gormless worm, she cries but acquiesces. Apparently in Texas, you are required to sleep in the same bed as a man who impregnated you, even if it is 10 years ago, or else dire consequences ensue. Like getting a spine. It should be noted that Kate is from a very powerful family but at no time does she call on them to help her out. Pride is one reason. Because it’s far better to go and b be forced to sleep in the bed of a man you believe is a criminal and responsible for heinous acts than to ask your family for help.

Of course, Kate cannot be forced to sleep in the same bed as Wyatt without having sex with him again but good girl that she is, she confesses this to Jack who at first gets mad and jealous but then decides that they will work things out.

Let’s turn to Jack and his wife, Holly. Jack and Holly have a 6 year old son and right when Jack needs to get a divorce he finds out that the son has AML and needs a bone marrow transplant. Soap fans will understand where this story goes.

In the end, Jack and Holly rekindle their love. Kate and Wyatt fall in love. At some point, after much sexxoring of the other partners, Jack and Kate confess to each other than they are not in love and wish each other the best. The end. Cue rainbows for everyone.

The characters are completely wooden. No one had any authentic reactions to what was going on in their lives. The plot was completely ridiculous. It read like a cobbled together script of a few episodes of a bad soap combined with a TNT action show.    There was a ton of backslapping by people I assume were from other Bitter Creek novels but had nothing to do with the storyline other than to add “there, there, it will be all rights” along the way.   Lame.   The only thing that would have saved this story is if someone had their head chopped off in the beginning but turned back up at the end to fall in love with Kate’s mother in law or something. D

Best regards,


This book can be purchased at Amazon (affiliate link), Harlequin (non affiliate), eharlequin, Kindle (non affiliate link) or other etailers.

This book was provided to the reviewer by either the author or publisher. The reviewer did not pay for this book but received it free (and I probably would have been pissed if I had paid for it).

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Tweets that mention REVIEW: Shattered by Joan Johnston | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary --
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 12:40:43

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erotic Romance, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: REVIEW: Shattered by Joan Johnston […]

  2. ms bookjunkie
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 12:46:39

    Thanks for reading this, Jane. Now I don’t have to.

    Was the husband dead?

    And why am I cursed to have that really ugly avatar pic follow me around? Blech! My least favorite color!

  3. Jane
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 12:50:22

    @ms bookjunkie: the avatar is randomly generated. I thought it was better than the mystery man, no?

    The husband is not dead, but eventually dies after trying to unsuccessfully to kill Wyatt and Kate.

  4. Castiron
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 13:10:15

    Kate's mother in law is the former governor of Texas who has higher political ambitions.

    So if I did pick this up, that’s about the point where I’d start going “wait, Kate is Ann Richards’s daughter-in-law????” (I suppose there’s a faint chance that it’s set in the future timeline where Kay Bailey Hutchinson wins the Republican primary and the 2010 election….)

    Which does make me wonder why I’d find an imaginary female governor jarring but an imaginary male governor just a sign that this isn’t the Real World (or that names have been changed to protect the guilty).

  5. Sandy James
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 13:19:10

    @ms bookjunkie: You can always add your own avatar through Gravatar. Mine follows me here whenever I comment. :-)

  6. Stephanie
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 13:52:29

    wow – this sounds so bad that i just might have to read it

  7. Maddie
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 14:50:51

    And next on Jerry Springer you’ll meet John who fell in love with his Angus Cow and wants to leave his wife Suzette of 47 years.

  8. ms bookjunkie
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 15:36:39

    Yes, it is better than the mystery man. It’s just that that particular shape/color attached itself to me at Borders True Romance and has since been following me around the internet. Do not want! (Any other color would be preferable!)

    @Sandy James:
    Yeah, I know about Gravatar. It’s just that picking an avatar is such a headache. There are all kinds of cool images around, but I don’t want any kind of copyright hassle so the image would have to be something I created myself, which leads to another problem… I’m artistically challenged, indecisive and lazy, and there’s no way I’m using a picture of myself. Sooo… here we are. *g*

  9. Casee
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 16:47:43

    I was one of the readers that have followed the series from the beginning. I’m still furious about this and it’s been over a month since I’ve read it.

    I wanted to put it down, but it was like a train-wreck. I just couldn’t.

  10. library addict
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 17:46:19

    Having been through the same sort of scenario with another author, I feel for the fans of the series who had anticipated the couple’s HEA.

  11. Jane
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 17:47:44

    @library addict No kidding. What’s the point of building up a couple if you are only going to ruin it for your long time fans who’ve invested in that build up? Seems so crass to me.

  12. GrowlyCub
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 22:17:29

    This sounds about as bad as Slaughter killing off her hero and Brockmann doing the last minute switch.

    Maybe I’m getting crotchety in my middle age, but I can see no reason for an author to do something like this except to show the readers ‘who’s boss’. Can’t help but think this was a pretty bad PR move for Johnston, though.

  13. Amy
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 22:48:39

    I have sort of followed this series on and off over the years, and a few have been decent. JJ is definitely not a consistently good writer (IMO). I don’t think any of her stories have ever made it to my keeper shelf. I would have been *so mad* if I had bought this book and read what you have described.

  14. DeeCee
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 22:48:56

    @GrowlyCub: I’m still pissed at Slaughter. I couldn’t believe that after 5-6 years of investing in Sara and Jeffrey’s relationship she royally screwed with her fan base. Whereas on the other hand I didn’t mind Dark of Night by Brockmann and her switch.

    I’m still surprised that Johnston went this direction with Kate and Jack. I’ve been following the Bitter Creek series since the beginning and the only thing that got me through the last few was K&J’s supposed HEA. And Johnston fueled this betrayal (IMO) by saying on her website that she was working on Kate and Jack’s story. Misleading. And I’m ever so grateful that I didn’t shell out the money for this massive craptastrophy. Thanks DA!

  15. Jane
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 22:53:41

    @DeeCee: No, thank you for “craptastrophy”. Will be using this in future reviews.

  16. Tee
    Jan 24, 2010 @ 21:07:27

    No surprise with me regarding this review of a Joan Johnston book. It’s been a while since I’ve read any of her stories and I quit because her scenarios were just getting ridiculous.

  17. Review: Shattered by Joan Johnston | Smexy Books
    Apr 11, 2011 @ 14:07:51

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